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Last Update: October 14th, 2019
We really can’t think about how to boost creativity in babies and toddlers without thinking about Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk from back in 2008.
It’s a great talk that if you haven’t watched it, do yourself a favor and watch it. And tt’s timeless.
In this talk, Sir Ken Robinson talks about how schools are killing creativity instead of nurturing it.
And he has a point in what he says.
With newborns and toddlers the learning comes from playing and the older we get, the less we play.
Until a day where we start hearing that we are too grown-ups to play. (Or that our back is hurting, we can’t play…)
“Oh, come on, leave that to your younger brother! You’re too old for that.”
Or, on the other side…
“I’m too old for that.”
You’ve heard someone saying that before, right? (Probably even you…)
Play to Learn
Playing is the best way to boost creativity in babies and toddlers and it goes well beyond kindergarten and school.
It should be nurtured at home as well.
Let’s face it: playing is the best child’s trigger to creative thinking.
And from that creative thinking comes the learning, problem-solving skills, the emotional development such as the development of patience, perseverance, concentration…
Playing is actually a great way to stimulate both sides of the brain.
The left side, more logical, more mathematical and the right side, more creative, more imaginative.
5 Foundations to Boost Creativity in Babies and Toddlers
1. Understand All Children Are Creative
We know, this is not exactly a direct boost to children’s creativity, or at least doesn’t sound like one.
But this is the foundation of it all.
Researchers say we’re born with the capacity for creativity, but the older we get, the less creative most of us become, just as Sir Ken Robinson says in the above video.
As a famous artist once said…
Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.Pablo Picasso
As parents, although it is tough sometimes, we should nurture these innocence kids have.
Being creative is, in some way, being naive and innocent. Because as soon as we grow up, the judgment starts.
“That sure doesn’t look like a horse. It resembles more of a dog… or a desk”
“Is that mom’s hair? It’s not at all like that.”
We shouldn’t judge our kid’s creativity. It’s their unique way to express what they see, taste, smell, hear and touch. Just like we have ours.
Just like our kids are born ready to assimilate everything we teach them, regarding creativity, we should always let them play as if they had a clean canvas to do whatever they want.
Regarding creativity, there is no right or wrong.
There is not a specific Lego® sequence to build a castle or a boat.
And what does a castle or a boat looks like?
What about a true superhero?
It doesn’t matter.
It’s whatever they want.
So, before you move forward and read the next tips to boost creativity in babies and toddlers, make sure you embrace this one.
Your child is creative. Your goal is to find where his or her creativity flourishes.
And that takes us to tip #2.
2. Don’t judge where your kid is most creative
This is really important.
One thing we did with our oldest son and that we will be doing with the newborn when he gets a bit older is that we want him to try different things.
Different things, meaning different hobbies, different sports, and different activities.
Just for your info, our oldest son, which is five years old right now, already tried classes of:
- Reading Workshops;
Because it is really important to let him try different things and see where his creativity flourishes. Where he is the happiest.
Without any judgment. Just let them be themselves.
Father’s comment: I’m sure you had some curiosity about how, as a father, I reacted when he tried ballet. In fact, I went to that class because I was too curious about it. I like that he tries different things. Being it ballet or any other thing. I always try to fight those stereotypes our society builds and it was a great surprise when I saw two other boys in there. He liked the class a lot but after he tried the “Disney dance” classes, he clearly opted for that one. However, after a couple of classes, he said he wanted football, which he is playing for over two years now (he is 7 when we updated this article).
And we still have a lot more to try.
From other sports to playing an instrument, to surf lessons, to a lot more things.
Give your kid(s) the freedom and confidence to pick what they really love doing.
Check this advertising that explains very well what we’re saying.
3. Only the process should be rewarded, not creativity
When you connect creativity with some sort of reward, you’re basically telling them that the sooner they achieve some sort of result, the sooner they’ll be rewarded.
Let them take their time and get the creativity flowing.
The process is what you can provide feedback.
Tell them that they painted very well, that they are holding the pencils very well. Tell them that the Lego® looks very solid.
Mother’s comment: My mom is a DIY lover. It’s amazing the things she does, using everything you can imagine and it’s also amazing when she invites her grandson to join and try new experiments with her. It’s normal to arrive at her place and see our oldest boy with an apron dressed, hands full of paint and some great results to show. We’re lucky!
4. Go outside
Yes, go outside.
Leave your everyday games behind and see new things.
Father’s comment: One of the things I always remember was one day that my father took me to an empty field with just a bit of twine, wrapping paper and with whatever we found in the field, we built a kite. It was a major emotion. After an hour or two, we managed to put it in the air and, after a few seconds, the twine broke and we never saw the kite again. But it is something I’ll never forget. A simple father and son moment like this gave me memories I’ll take forever. And not only memories about something I did, but also an idea about something I can do with my sons one day.
Put your phones down. Turn off the TV. And go outside.
Try things out.
Go play soccer with them in the closest park.
Think about a treasure hunt to play with them.
Go watch the stars.
Idea: check 7 other DYI Crafts you can do with your Kids
5. Let them direct the play
At home, we normally tell our kids stories, but there is always time for them to tell us stories.
Of course, the younger one, with just two weeks, doesn’t have much to tell.
But giving the older one full freedom to build up his own story, it’s amazing.
Letting them have some unstructured time where there are no instructions to follow, characters to respect, gravity laws to live by, it’s pure magic.
Reinvent everyday objects. Ask your kids to help you wash empty milk cartons and have them use them in their next play.
Use old socks to make new puppets.
The more creative ideas you provide them, the more creative they’ll be about using objects they have around them.
One thing we sometimes do is that we show him cartoon books and together we try to come up with the story since he can’t yet read.
To wrap up, let’s write it down again:5 Foundations to Boost Creativity in Babies and Toddlers:
- Understand all children are creative
- Don’t judge where your kid is most creative
- Only the process should be rewarded, not creativity
- Go outside
- Let them direct the play
This is a great starting point to let your child’s creativity to flourish.
Regarding creativity, don’t judge. Support.
And, since you’re going to let your son or daughter, do some crazy stuff, why not join them and do some crazy stuff yourself?
Dress crazy, eat with your hands (pizza won’t count!), draw on the walls with washable painting…
All of you.
Just like we teach our kids to ask what they want, I’ll ask you to take a second to share “5 Foundations to Boost Creativity in Babies and Toddlers” with your audience. They respect great content.